Monday, December 29, 2014

A short stroll in Infrared

Now that it's post Christmas, we are in stay at home mode until the road madness subsides. This morning it was a short stroll down town before the temperature rises too much. I find it hard to photograph my own stomping ground; everything is so familiar. So, this morning, I took the infrared camera in the hope that a different wavelength might provide some inspiration. Nothing awe inspiring here, just a rather different type of holiday snap.
On our street - white leaves against dark sky

My favourite cafe 

Pearson Park looking toward Mt Oxford

Memorial - Pearson Park

Path in Pearson Park - looks like snow (it isn't)

Maggie Pie taking flight

Across the cricket field to Mt Oxford

Looking East from Pearson Park

I like the way that foliage fluoresces almost white with infrared, while clear sky is almost devoid of IR and turns nearly black. The middle of a sunny day isn't the best time for ordinary photography but it is a great  time for IR.

Monday, December 1, 2014


Usually I download an app to my phone, only to find a few weeks later that I never use it and it ends up being deleted. Some apps like Feedly wheedle themselves into your daily life. But rarely does an app become more and more useful as time goes on. Such an app is Scanbot.

For the last couple of years I have been going paperless, scanning most documents I receive on a flat-bed scanner and dumping the paper. It’s worth it to save collecting boxes of receipts, warranties and bills but it’s a tedious process, especially if I let the paperwork back up for a few weeks.

Then I found Scanbot - Android (free), iOS (paid). Here’s the deal; put your document on a flat surface, hold your phone over the document, pause and the document is ‘scanned’ - actually photographed, squared off, trimmed and saved as a PDF. Multi-page documents are no problem and get combined into a multi-page PDF. Super easy and I can scan documents as they arrive and immediately bin the paper. Scanned documents are automatically uploaded to my Dropbox account (other cloud services are supported).

Then I found another use. Turning the hundreds of old family photos into digital. My digital photo library started in 2001. Before that it is folders of printed photos collected over a few decades of camera toting family life. I didn’t have very high hopes but scanbot, combined with my phone’s 13Mp camera, does a wonderful job of turning the prints into reasonable digital images. Colours are true and, while you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, a few tweaks in Lightroom can often improve on the quality of original print.

The results are perfectly usable for online use and for reprinting at the original size. I probably wouldn’t print larger, but this was from a wallet sized print taken in 1982: